Will Indian Hotels increase offer for Orient-Express?

Several media outlets are reporting that the Indian Hotels Co. might sweeten its US$1.86 billion offer to take control of Orient-Express Hotels.

Sources report that the Tata Group’s hotel company wants access to Orient-Express Hotels’ books to find more value to justify an increased bid.

The sources say an initial overture to increase the bid came in an October 25 letter from Indian Hotels Co. Vice Chairman R K Krishna Kumar to Orient-Express Chairman J Robert Lovejoy, suggesting that a more open dialogue to discuss value drivers could prove fruitful.

Kumar reportedly wrote the letter to arrange a meeting between Lovejoy and Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata along with Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo to discuss the acquisition.

On October 18, IHCL along with Charme II Funds, founded by the family of Ferrari Chairman Luca Montezemolo, had made an unsolicited, all-cash offer to acquire the outstanding 93.1% stake of Orient-Express at US$12.63 per share – a 40% premium to the stock price on that day.